What Vitamins Help a Hangover?
To reduce hangover symptoms after drinking alcohol, there is an endless list of supposed cures to try. From raw eggs to foods with whole grains to even more alcohol, there are plenty of other ways to consider reducing your hangover besides just drinking water... but not all of them will work!
Electrolyte rich drinks are a popular choice, like Zest's Electrolyte Powder Packs. Containing 700mg of electrolytes plus essential vitamins including B vitamins, they work to reduce several of the side effects common after excessive alcohol use by focusing on rehydration.
In this article, we'll explain which vitamins are best for a hangover and can help to reduce those nasty hangover symptoms. Learn more about what to drink for a hangover in our article What to Drink for a Hangover: Top 4 Beverages.
Vitamins Lost After Drinking Alcohol
Excess alcohol consumption often leads to what we call a hangover. This group of symptoms that occur the morning after alcohol intake can include:
- Dehydration (you may see your urine turn fluorescent yellow),
- Headaches, dizziness and fatigue,
- Irritability and mood changes,
- Impaired cognitive function,
- General unwell feelings.1
Acting as a diuretic, alcohol doesn't just impact liver function, but it also drains your body of hydration and nutrients. There's evidence to suggest that even consuming a small amount of alcohol impairs your body's ability to absorb nutrients through the stomach and small intestine.2
Without adequate hydration and all the vitamins and minerals you need, your body's metabolism, immune system, CNS, and numerous other functions can begin to suffer. Replenishing the hydration and nutrients lost can go a long way toward curing a hangover and may even be part of a hangover prevention strategy.
Vitamin B12 is great to include, as it is one of the most common vitamin deficiency problems with a typical Western diet.3
The vitamins listed below, including all-important B vitamins, are all backed with studies to help remedy your hangover or target a specific symptom that commonly occurs.
If your hangover symptoms don't begin to pass during the day, or you are worried about chronic alcohol abuse, you should contact a medical health professional immediately to seek help.
Top 3 Vitamins to Replenish After Alcohol Consumption
To combat hangovers, taking supplements is a good start. Finding a good electrolyte balance to nourish your body is also important.
There are many nutrients that play a key role in your overall health, so if you want to create a fool-proof hangover cure we recommend trying a beverage like our Recovery Electrolyte Powder alongside a hearty breakfast.
Binge drinking is not great for your health. So, while these vitamins can take the sting out of your recovery, it's always best to avoid drinking too much alcohol in the first place.
B vitamins are the best vitamins for energy production, hydration, and a wide range of different bodily functions that may be impaired by a hangover.
- B1 - thiamin
- B2 - riboflavin
- B3 - niacin
- B5 - pantothenic acid
- B6 - pyridoxine
- B7 - biotin
- B9 - folate or folic acid
- B12 - cobalamin
You can get B vitamins from numerous food sources, however you are more likely to be deficient in vitamin B12 than other B vitamins if you are vegetarian or vegan. Also called cobalamin, B12 is one of the essential nutrients absorbed through meat and dairy products. B12 in particular is essential for forming red blood cells and nerve function.4
Other vitamins in the B complex, particularly vitamins B1 and B6, contribute to energy levels.
Vitamin B6 will help your body break down carbs, proteins and fats for energy, thus restoring brain power and overall wellness.5 Vitamin B1 is also involved with the breakdown of nutrients for energy as well as glucose metabolism, helping to fuel your brain.6 Replenishing these two vitamin B numbers could help to combat the cognitive impairment and headache you experience during a hangover.
A vitamin B complex supplement or beverage may also include vitamin B9, also known as folic acid.
To summarize, a vitamin B-rich electrolyte powder will help to target fatigue, headaches, irritability, and the impaired cognitive function that occur during a hangover.
Sufficient amounts of vitamin C are important for overall health, and many people that like to eat a large breakfast with a glass of OJ to combat hangovers swear that it's the citrusy beverage that does the trick!
A sudden depletion of vitamin C will rarely lead to immediate side effects - it can take months of a deficiency in vitamins and minerals for the effects to become noticeable.7 Regular heavy drinkers in particular may find themselves edging closer toward a vitamin C deficiency, as one study found that drinking alcohol produced a 47% increase in urinary ascorbic acid excretion.8
So, vitamin C is a great vitamin to replenish quickly after drinking alcohol. Not only is it beneficial for the immune system, but vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that can help your body recover from the toxic substances produced by the pancreas after a night of heavy drinking.9
Water soluble and readily available in a number of citrus fruits, you can replenish your vitamin C levels through a glass of orange juice, a supplement, or Zest's Recovery Electrolyte Powder. Along with vitamin E, it will keep your immune system running strong even when you are feeling under the weather.
The last vitamin we recommend for a potential hangover prevention remedy or cure is vitamin D. While consuming less alcohol is always going to be the best way to prevent hangovers, vitamin D can boost your immune defenses ready for the onslaught of symptoms!
Vitamin D helps to synthesize and regulate serotonin, which is important for brain function and mood.10 Thus, it's possible that together D and B vitamins cure the lethargic feelings, irritability, and general brain fog that come with an alcohol hangover.
You can try taking a vitamin D supplement with a magnesium supplement, as this mineral can actually help your body regulate and use the amount of vitamin D that it needs - otherwise your body may store the vitamin D without using it.11
While eating a plate of leafy greens and drinking lots of water will eventually help to replenish the vitamins you lost due to the diuretic effects of alcohol, there are better and faster ways to help your body. Consuming an electrolyte beverage will help your body retain nutrition for longer - learn more about how electrolytes work in our article 10 Key Nutrients Electrolyte Powder Should Have.
What is the best vitamin for a hangover?
Of all the vitamins and minerals, the B vitamins are considered the best supplements for a hangover. Vitamin B (1 through 12) can boost energy levels and help feed your body and brain. This vitamin complex could help to combat the sluggish, lethargic mood you experience with a hangover as well as the general cognitive impairment and lack of concentration.
Should I take vitamins after a hangover?
Yes! Vitamins work in numerous ways. Vitamin C, for example, is a powerful antioxidant that is lost through urine when you drink alcohol (as alcohol is a diuretic), while vitamin D could work to smooth over the irritability and improve your mood the morning after.
Taking vitamins along with electrolytes or in an electrolyte beverage will help your body hold onto the supplements for longer too.
When should I take B12 for a hangover?
For hangover prevention, vitamin E and vitamin D may be the best vitamins to take in advance. However, B vitamins including B12 are often best consumed in the morning. Along with amino acids and caffeine (see Energy Tea), these supplements can boost your energy and improve cognitive function.
Are electrolytes good for a hangover?
Yes, electrolytes are great for a hangover. This is because alcohol is a diuretic and many of the symptoms of a hangover stem from the dehydration caused by alcohol use. Dehydration can negatively impact the body's ability to recover, so a mix of electrolytes and vitamins can help your body get back to normal.
What does drinking do to the brain and nervous system?
Despite much science into alcohol and how it affects us, we still aren't entirely sure what causes hangovers - particularly the reason why hangovers are worse for some people than others. We do know that hangovers can starve the body of energy (glucose) and hydration, negatively impacting the nervous system and cognition.